Sonic Drift is a racing game whose gameplay style and controls are heavily based on Sega's arcade game Out Run. Here, the players race around a race course against the other three characters for a top position in the race. The game's single player mode is Chaos GP, where the player's goal is to win three different circuits (green, yellow and red). Each circuit is made of six different race courses that the player is taken through in succession.
Each race course is composed of a circuit which needs to be completed thrice. The playable characters have rather simple controls, their basic actions being accelerating to move forward, breaking, and moving left or right on the tracks. In tight corners, the player can break while turning in a specific direction, allowing them to drift through the corners. If the player overuses this method though, the playable character starts spinning out of control. Should the player move outside the race tracks, the racer's acceleration will decreases noticeably on the rough terrain. The race track's sidelines also have obstacles that will stop the player altogether if the playable characters crash into them. The player can as well collect Rings along the race tracks to perform special moves unique to each character.